Monday, July 20, 2015

God . . . and the Chancellor of Thailand

My dear family and friends! 

Some pretty BIG news this week. Our teacher just casually told us that the Chancellor of Thailand along with a general authority of the Church will be coming to visit us on August 6th. "Have a good day Elders!"
We all freaked out a little bit, wouldn't you? Our teacher told us it is our opportunity, privilege, and responsibility to show what being a missionary is to the chancellor. His decision in letting more missionaries into the country (there is a cap of 200 I believe), or even understanding why missionaries are coming to his country in the first place is CRUCIAL in spreading the gospel in Thailand. My prayer is that we can represent the Savior the best we can as we show our love through testimony and the Spirit. I have no doubt the MTC and our chat with him will be filled with the power of God, as God is hastening His work in Thailand - we have no need to fear. With God... anything is possible.

With the chancellor and a general authority coming, we have started to learn some cultural lessons in Thai. One thing I am super bummed about is that I can never cross my legs in public/anywhere in Thailand. If you point your foot out at someone (literally called "footing")... you are basically flipping them off. The good news - at least no one will be flipping me off American Style hahahahahaha. So I am just praying I don't forget that small detail while our district meets with the chancellor.... or else missionary work will end in Thailand as we know it. No pressure.

Now that we have the cool news out of the way..... it's time for bigger and better and more important things - LIKE ELIZA'S BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOO Happy birthday sweetheart! I wish I could be there to wake you up at 5 a.m. screaming, "Happy Birthday"... but I can't be. Maybe you could set an alarm or something to just remind you of how much I love you! The big 17! Congratulations!  You have worked so hard for this your whole life... I knew you could do it! I miss you all so much! Love you, love you, love you!

In other news, our district has gained 105 pounds together (8 elders). That is more than what Sister Mon weighs. Does it phase us? NO. Our goal is to hit 150 by the end of the MTC..... completely muscle of course ;) When I come back from my mission, I am picturing maybe 6'5" 220 lb version of Elder Smith-Driggs. Who knows?  At this rate, I could be playing Goliath in the next Bible Message Videos.

Some funnies: 
I taught a killer lesson all by myself a couple nights ago. My Thai was flawless ... and then I woke up. Elder Allen had been listening to me in the middle of the night just giving a lesson to Brother Nxng in my sleep. God is definitlely helping me out hahahaha.

We dared Elder Walker and Elder Krebs to end their lesson with 2 Kings 2:23-24 to Brother Nxng.... and they actually did it.  Read the verse about Elijah, and you can understand why we thought it was so funny. Hahahahaha they got railed by our teacher for doing it. Definitely learned their lesson about joking around with the investigator. Luckily Brother Nxng understood. He probably thought it was funny too.

Elder Walker weekly update: 

This guy gets funnier and funnier every day.  Here are some beautiful stories.

1. "Wearing the Jersey of Jesus"
Elder Hancock was getting frustrated with translating the BOM into English with the Thai BOM. He finally just exclaimed, "Dangit! I hate translating this stupid verse.. it doesn't even mean anything cool!" Elder Walker just kindly looked up at him and said, "My friend, lucky for you I have an ENGLISH Book of Mormon right here that I could lend you. It is much easier to read." Hahahahahahaha. We all just died. Sometimes we get so caught up in how hard the language is and then we realize... we can do this in English! 

2. "Megalodon" 
There are no words to describe this story. All I can say is Elder Walker's life goal is to find Megalodon (prehistoric jurrasic ancestor of the shark). He tries to incorporate Megalodon into every lesson he teaches. It's quite funny... except I think he actually believes that Megalodon is real and is out there in the ocean. Well... good thing we can't swim on the mission hahahaha or else Elder Walker would be hunting it for 2 years. We all wonder how his kids are going to turn out... probably epicly awesome.

Trevor and Andy... so jealous you got to go with my fam to Lake Powell. I miss you guys! Listened to Noyana just a couple of days ago. Definitely felt the vibes - music can always get you feeling great about God. Great job VP - that album keeps me sane here at the MTC hahahahaha.

Speaking of music, Elder Garff expertly sang the base part with his district in a devotional for all the missionaries. He sang in Tahitian, and it was SO DOPE! I turned to the Mexican elder next to me and said, "See that elder? I know him!"  YOU ARE FAMOUS ELDER GARFF hahhahaaha love you man.

Spiritually, this week was rough. Sometimes I am sitting in class and my mind is working so hard to understand the language of the Spirit and Thai that I just shut down. It was quite scary, actually. On Saturday, Brother Thrap (one of our teachers) asked me a question in Thai. (We don't speak English in the classroom very often.) I just blanked. It took him almost 5 minutes to describe the simple sentence that I had said hundreds of times. So please pray that I can have the mental capactiy to learn Thai as well as focus on the Spirit of the Lord. I know I can do it with His help... but prayers are always a nice shot in the arm.

Our investigators, Sister Dome and Brother Nxng are progressing nicely. Sister Dome will be baptized this week by Elder Allen, and then we teach her just a couple more lessons about the temple and other doctrines before she is handed off to the ward. With Brother Nxng, he has a baptisimal date, but he hasn't told his parents about the church of Christ. He is really scared. His mom has wanted him to become a monk for his whole life. Please pray that he can have the faith and trust in the Lord to tell his parents. We think he can do it. And God knows he can do it. The Spirit is so strong in the lessons with him as both Elder Allen and I testify about the scriptures and how they help us with challenges. He is reading lots and getting strength and confidence from the story of Nephi in Nephi 3-5 and Nephi 17. When his family is against the prophet of God...God is always with the prophet if he is doing the right thing. We know he can do it. Keep him in your prayers. 

I truly love teaching about the prakitikun khong praayeesuukhrid (gospel of Jesus Christ). It is the best part about being a missionary (even in the MTC). When we teach, the Spirit is a powerful testifyer of the truth. And I pray every day to be clean and worthy to be a vessel of the Lord.  May God continue to bless me with the gift of tongues as I try to do His work with all of my heart. I love my Heavenly Father, and I know that He loves all of His children, regardless of circumstance. If you do not know that, I challenge you to pray with sincerity and real desire of heart to your God in Heaven. He will answer you. I know that because he has answered me. May God bless you all. 

Love always,
Elder Smith-Driggs

(Found this one posted on Facebook by a 51st Ward Member.  Thanks!)

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